The Road Map Region Race to the Top grant contains a strong plan for dramatically improving student achievement for 147,000 students. Standing behind this plan is a highly committed group of 23 education leaders and numerous community partners who are working together for the benefit of students in our region. The Road Map District Consortium includes Auburn School District, Federal Way Public Schools, Highline Public Schools, Kent School District, Renton School District, Seattle Public Schools, Tukwila School District, and the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD).
The districts submitted their application under the name “The Road Map District Consortium,” in reference to their participation in the Road Map Project, a community-wide effort to drive educational improvement in South Seattle and South King County. Driven by an overarching concern for equity of opportunity, its entire focus is our communities and schools of highest need. The Project embodies the principles of the Stanford Social Innovation Review article Collective Impact by Kania and Kramer. The idea behind collective impact is that accomplishing major social change requires every sector in the community working together on a common agenda.
The grant contains three types of elements: federal requirements, additional district commitments and specific funding requests.
1. Minimum federal requirements – these must be met to be eligible for the grant:
- Strong focus on personalizing education
- Stronger teacher, principal and superintendent evaluations by 2014
- Complete implementation of Common Core State Standards by the 2014-15 school year
- Transparent reporting of data and school-level expenditures
2. Consortium commitments – these plans go beyond the minimum federal requirements:
- Provide all high-need elementary students with a summer reading plan. Community partners would help in this effort, too, so we can more effectively reduce summer learning loss.
- Implement Next Generation Science Standards, part of the Common Core.
- Double the number of students taking algebra by the end of eighth grade. Research shows this strategy will help many more students be ready for college and their careers.
- Help all eighth-grade students complete the High School and Beyond Plan so that students and parents can plan out high school courses that will be right for them.
3. The application’s major grant funding requests are further organized into three themes, all of which are designed to help the region make significant progress towards specific goals:
Start Strong – We know that early learning is critical
- This strategy provides funds to help districts work with their preschools and early learning programs to help thousands more kids be ready to be successful in kindergarten.
- Improve math, science and English Language Learner (ELL) teaching and leadership approaches so all students receive high-quality instruction.
STEM Strong – We live in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-intensive region
- This plan provides a computer-based math tutoring program for all high-need K-8th grade students that they can use in school and at home to build math skills.
- Funds are provided to help students explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers by providing online tools as well as an organized system of STEM speakers, mentors and internships.
Stay Strong – These strategies help more students enroll in postsecondary education and be successful
- Offer all students the opportunity to take the ReadiStep, SAT and PSAT in school for free
- Expand the Advanced Placement (AP) course selections for students and help more teachers to get AP course training
- Improve high school course selection by including more STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, world language and career certificate options
- Offer training for middle and high school guidance counselors and provide counselor assistants to better serve more students
On September 29, PSESD submitted the Road Map Region Race to the Top Grant Annual Performance Report to the U.S. Department of Education.
We look forward to our work over the next few years to significantly improve student achievement and sharing our results with the community.
Race to the Top Project Director
Jessica de Barros
Puget Sound Educational Service District
800 Oakesdale Ave SW, Renton, WA 98057